SF in government across the island soon – or not? July 1, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
Jim Fitzpatrick in the SBP argues in relation to SF, supposedly the ‘most ideological’ of Irish parties – which is news to me, and perhaps you as well – with regard to the recent meeting between Martin McGuinness and the Queen, that:
But the voters like the Queen and seem to like McGuinness and Sinn Féin more when he meets her. So, having taken the plunge, the party has been keen to exploit every opportunity. And the voting audience it’s targeting is south of the border. Northern nationalists and republicans may be less comfortable with the public displays of affection with the monarch, but not enough to send their votes elsewhere.
Are such meetings genuinely so important in the South? I don’t know the answer to that and I’m curious what others think.
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick argues that ‘Stormont’s days are numbered’, that the sclerotic, at best, relations between SF and the DUP are now so bad that at some point SF will ‘pull the plug’ – as well as problems ‘delaying benefit cuts… that SF cannot hold off indefinitely’. He suggests that ultimately the institutions could be suspended for some time.
It doesn’t necessarily mean a return to a pre-Agreement crisis, but it could mean Stormont being put into deep freeze for a period of years – the last suspension lasted effectively for five years from 2002 to 2007 and this next one could be something similar.
But in the meantime the architecture of de-facto joint authority and all-party talks elevates Sinn Féin in the North from ineffective regional assembly members to international peace negotiators.
It’s an interesting argument (and he points to the irony that SF and the DUP would continue to share power on local authorities in the North). Not least because it cuts across a lot of preconceptions amongst some in the south that SF is desperate to be in ‘power’ in both parts of the island come 2016.
And there’s something about the de facto joint authority point is oddly persuasive. Though it’s all a bit conspiracy du jour and it surely would be quite a risk. For example, one wonders how a ‘pulling of the plug’ by SF (or seen to be by SF) would play and how opponents and the media would use it?
But, while Fitzpatrick doesn’t suggest a particular time for SF to walk, he does suggest that it would be at a point that would be of benefit electorally both North and South. That would have to suggest the 2015/16 period to encompass both Westminster and RoI elections. And that would suggest that SF might not be that pushed re the power in 2016 trope.
Again, I wonder what people think of that.